It’s always good to feel and process your emotions as you are going through a difficult time, such as divorce. However, there may be times when those feelings and emotions are too overwhelming, and coping with anxiety during divorce seems challenging.
As a physical therapist, it would appear that we are only there to facilitate the healing of your body; however, we do take into account your emotional well-being, just as much. When you’re struggling in coping with anxiety during divorce, it can limit your physical healing process.
At The Manual Touch PT, we use traditional and non-traditional therapies to get people back to doing the things they love to do. A component of our non-traditional work incorporates this mind-body connection in order to promote the body’s ability to heal and, in the process, help balance the emotions.
We will even give you hands-on homework called Neurofascial Process (NFP), which helps maintain that emotional balance and works as an adjunct to other mental health therapies and tools.
How does NFP work in coping with anxiety during divorce?
Think of your body as multiple highway systems that all have to connect and function together. NFP will remind the body’s highway systems how to communicate and work together as a whole being.
The process is easy. Simply place your hands on your body over specific sites, and the healing wisdom of your body will take over to promote internal balance and calm, support your nervous and immune systems, and ultimately encourage the body to communicate with itself.
NFP can be done in any position: sitting, standing, or lying down, and you can have another person use their hands to help. Hold the position for five to 10 minutes or more—holding for longer will only increase the effectiveness.
I’ve outlined below how you can use NFP in coping with anxiety during divorce and dealing with strong emotions and other issues. Choose one or more of these connections, then practice them daily and/or whenever strong emotions surface. And remember—you can never have enough or do too much NFP!
NFP for Stress Management
Place one hand on your ureters (lower back) and your other hand on the following locations:
1. Mid-back or across your upper abdomen (whichever position is most comfortable) – to support your adrenals and kidneys
2. Forehead between your eyebrows – to support your limbic system
3. Chest – to support your heart/vagus nerve
Hold each connection for at least five minutes, and then move onto the next hand placement.
There are many, many ways to use NFP for physical or emotional symptoms. It is very effective for calming strong emotions and bringing the body back into balance. When my kids were little and had temper tantrums, I used to put them in time-out, have them put one hand on their forehead and the other hand on their lower back, and within five minutes or so, their tantrum would subside.
Using NFP to Calm Strong Emotions
In Eastern medicine, it has long been established that emotions are associated with certain organs. To calm emotions as they arise and bring your body back into balance, place one hand on your ureters (lower back) and the other hand over the site (organ) associated with the emotion you’re experiencing:
For anxiety, place your other hand on your adrenals, located in your mid-back. If your arms are uncomfortable behind your back, wrap both of your arms around your upper and lower abdomen.
For fear, place your other hand on your kidneys (mid-back).
For sadness, place your other hand on your lungs (chest).
For anger, place your other hand on your liver (right lower rib cage).
For rage or temper tantrums, place your other hand on your limbic system (on your forehead between your eyebrows).
More Helpful NFP Connections in coping with anxiety during divorce
For issues speaking up, place your hand on your throat and the other hand on your low back.
To support relaxation, place one hand over your heart (left side of chest) and the other on your forehead.
To support your senses in this age of information overload and protect your immune system, try these special connections:
One hand over your eyes and the other on your mid-chest:
This connection can help with handling and balancing the constant bombardment and vigilance of visual information.
One hand on your ears and the other on the soles of your feet: You can accomplish this by having your feet touch each other in butterfly position or by having someone hold the bottom of your feet: This connection will help if you’re hearing too much information but you still need to move forward.
One hand on your nose and one on your mid-back: This connection helps with handling incoming non-verbal information and balancing the spectrum of fear to trust. Think of the saying, “Smell fear.”
One hand on the mouth and one on the top of your head: This connection helps with the ability to speak with good intention from our best self.
Place one hand on your ureters (lower back) and the other over any site of pain or discomfort to support your body in reducing your pain.
In addition to using NFP, it’s important to keep moving.
Focus on any exercise you can do at home such as walking, running, and getting OUTSIDE to enjoy the weather as best you can. Staying active and getting fresh air and sunshine will support your nervous and immune systems.
Denise Schwartz, PT, CIMT, CAFS, CFGS, is a physical therapist and the owner of her practice, The Manual Touch PT, located in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Her whole body approach to health uses traditional and nontraditional PT methods to assist her patients in overcoming pain and improving quality of life.
She began her career working in a level 1 trauma hospital for 14 years. She focused her skill development in the outpatient area, treating a variety of orthopedic and neurological patients. Denise has taken more than 5,000 continuing education hours to further her PT knowledge in manual therapy, spinal care, running and functional rehabilitation (rehab).
She is certified in Applied Functional Science and has extensive training in Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT), going beyond the required 1500 hours of continuing education in order to become certified.She then went on to start CenterIMT Chicago. As part owner of three CenterIMT clinics, she organized numerous IMT courses and mentored other IMT therapists. The NFP information in this blog post was originally published for The Manual Touch PT’s blog.
Like this article? Check out, “Paralyzed by Fear and Anxiety When it Comes to Divorce?”